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Beatle Bob (Robert Matonis, born 1953)is a well-known figure in the St. Louis, Missouri music scene. He is often seen doing his characteristic dancing at a wide range of concerts including Ani DiFranco, Less Than Jake and Chuck Berry, both in the crowd and onstage with the performers. He is known for his arrhythmic dance moves and Beatles-inspired "mop top" hairstyle and tailored 1960s-style suits. His constant presence and dancing is welcomed by some concertgoers and an aggravation to others. He has allegedly been to at least one live show every night since Christmas Eve 1996, and seen over 10,000 bands over the last decade.
Contrary to popular belief[by whom?], the nickname "Beatle Bob" did not originate with his Beatles-style hair cut. Typical to many children in St. Louis, Bob went to Catholic schools throughout his childhood. One day during class, he was reading a Beatles magazine that was concealed within an open textbook. When the nun caught him, she snatched the magazine from him and exclaimed, "That will be enough of that, Beatle Bob!" The name stuck.
Beatle Bob contributed to the now-defunct music publication Jet Lag Magazine and wrote a monthly "Top Ten" of local concerts for Sauce Magazine. He also used to produce an annual Phil Spector Christmas Special for local community radio station, KDHX, although members of the local music scene have disputed Bob's claims that he hosts a regular radio show or owns a radio station.
Beatle Bob has also attended music festivals around the United States, including Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (an annual Manchester, Tenn. music festival), City Stages, SXSW, Lollapalooza, the Ponderosa Stomp, International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles, Sleazefest, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Austin City Limits Music Festival. He holds the distinction of emceeing the final Guided by Voices show at Metro in Chicago, December 31, 2004; and introducing Sleater-Kinney at their last touring show during Lollapalooza in 2006. He introduced Camper van Beethoven and The Flaming Lips at Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival in Lawrence, Kansas in June 2006. He also emceed the "Last Call at the Nights" on January 19, 2007, the final show held at Mississippi Nights on Laclede's Landing in St. Louis. On August 3, 2007, Beatle Bob was seen at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago, Ill., dancing onstage with The Polyphonic Spree and introducing a Mississippi band, Colour Revolt. Beatle Bob also introduced the Sam Roberts Band onstage on August 4, 2007 and spent their set dancing offstage. He was seen again on August 5 at Lollapalooza introducing the rock band Dios and dancing with them onstage, and later introducing indie rock band Yo La Tengo. He introduced Cornmeal at Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival in 2011. He was recently seen in Columbia, Mo. on September 30, 2016 at the Roots and Blues BBQ Festival.
Beatle Bob and his dancing are featured in the Guided By Voices video for "My Kind of Soldier" and in Lit's DVD "All Access." He is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled "Superfan: The Lies, Life and Legend of Beatle Bob."
Beatle Bob has been repeatedly accused of shoplifting, theft of property, and misrepresenting his own connections to the music industry. Some find his frenetic dancing disruptive and selfish, and musicians have taken issue with the fact that he rarely pays money to see live music, robbing the performing artist of monetary support. In their blog, St. Louis indie-rock band So Many Dynamos remarked, "So what's the problem? Well, he always gets into shows free, always shows up late, and always pushes his way past everybody to get to the front right by the stage. This is extra annoying because we always try to make our shows as comfortable as possible for us and for the people that like our band...The other issue is that I have personally seen him steal things from show patrons and from bands. Once, i went to a show, saw him walk to the back of the venue where some kid had set his jacket, drape it over his arm, and walk out."
- "Beatle Bob: Funky man, kingmaker". Salon. March 21, 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Video on YouTube
- "Does anyone know anything about Beatle Bob? • r/StLouis". reddit. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- Allington, Adam. "Weekend America: The Legend of Beatle Bob". weekendamerica.publicradio.org. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- "Beatle Bob Sit Down". www.beatlebobsitdown.com. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- Ryan (2007-12-26). "So Many Dynamos touring/recording/all-purpose blog: Concerning Beatle Bob". So Many Dynamos touring/recording/all-purpose blog. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- The Legend of Beatle Bob - 90.7 KWMU
- Riverfront Times article about Beatle Bob
- Austin Chronicle article about Beatle Bob
- An interview with Beatle Bob
- The Official Beatle Bob Website-Verified
- Site critical of Beatle Bob
- Beatle Bob - World's Most Obsessive Music Fan
- Last Call at the Nights[permanent dead link] - final show at Mississippi Nights
- Interview with Beatle Bob at insideSTL.com
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube with Whiskeytown in 1997.